A group photo showing the Kadazandusun Language Researchers and seminar participants. – Photos courtesy of Chris Maskilone
TAMPARULI: Upko has gone a long way in its efforts to preserving the Kadazandusun language but the party is not about to rest on its laurels and bask in its glory.
Wilfred Madius Tangau, the acting president said the Kadazandusun community was in danger of losing its mother tongue as its younger generations were speaking less and less of the language.
But thanks to the introduction of the Kadazandusun language as a subject in schools this was no longer an issue, he said in a statement.
Despite many success stories as a direct result of Upko’s involvement and persistence like in getting the Kadazandusun language to be included in the education curriculum, he said there were still more to be done.
“Preservation of the momogun heritage and culture, which includes our mother tongue, is one of Upko’s seven ideologies. We will continue to do our part to ensure the Kadazandusun community will not lose any of them,” assured the Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation.
Tangau who is MP for Tuaran was elated to see the encouraging response from the teachers training colleges and secondary schools who participated in the seminar on the Kadazandusun language, culture and literature organised by the Language and Communication Faculty of the Universiti Pendidikan Sultan Idris (UPSI) Perak at SMK Tamparuli here Thursday.
“This augurs well with the objective of making sure our future generations will not forget their mother tongue,” he said while commending UPSI senior lecturer for the Kadazandusun language, Dr Rosliah Kiting for initiating the seminar.
For the record, the teaching of Kadazandusun language at the UPSI Perak was launched by Bernard Dompok, the former Upko president.
“For us in Upko we will give full support and assistance to the best of our ability,” he said when opening the seminar.
According to Tangau, 57 out of the 75 primary schools and five of the 11 secondary schools in his constituency are offering the subject ever since the introduction of the Kadazandusun language curriculum.
So far the total number of pupils taking up the Kadazandusun language subject in the country is 55,566 from 384 primary schools involving 1,100 teachers.
Some 4,416 students are also taking up the subject in 45 secondary schools involving 94 teachers.
At the higher learning institutes level, UPSI has 143 undergraduates and produced 97 graduates in teaching the Kadazandusun language.
In IPG Kent, the teachers training institute in Tuaran presently has 55 undergraduates under seven lecturers and it had produced 18 graduates who are already in interim posting.
As for the IPG Keningau, it currently has 45 undergraduates under three lecturers for the Kadazandusun language subject.
Tangau said the Kadazandusun subject was also made an elective language for international students in Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS).
On another note, he agreed with one of the key speakers at the seminar, Fidelis Sipangkui who in his keynote address called for a professional accreditation for Kadazandusun Language teachers.
“This will give more ooomph to the teachers,” he said.
Tangau also encouraged teachers of the Kadazandusun language to write more on the subject and not necessarily in print form but using online platform such as blogs.
He said this would ensure more credible material on the language is available for those wanting to learn or do research on it.
At the seminar, eight Kadazandusun Language Researchers or what is called Bolongkitas presented their papers namely Benedict Topin, Raymond Majumah, Rusinah Sinteh, Lina Bagu, Satiamah Sahat, George, Dr Rosliah and Sipangkui.